In her opening match at the tournament where the year’s eight most successful players are competing, Angelique Kerber beat the strong Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 in the Singapore Indoor Stadium. “It was a really tough match. I knew I had to play my best tennis if I was to win today. It worked fine for most of the time,” said the 28-year old German who on Sunday played her 77th match of the season.
No other player has stood on the court so often this year. After losing the second set in which nothing really went right for her, it was in the end her mental strength and her fighting spirit that enabled her to turn the thrilling match around in front of 6,000 thrilled spectators. “In the third set I tried to remain positive and concentrate on my serve. I’m so happy to have won here today. It was a very important win.”
In the Red Group, next up for Angelique Kerber is Simona Halep from Romania and the American Madison Keys. Another win and she will be almost sure of a place in the semi-finals. The first match of the day on Sunday – the duel between her two upcoming group rivals – was won by Simona Halep 6-2, 6-4. The current world No. 4 is Angelique Kerber’s next opponent on Tuesday at 7:30 pm local time (1.30 pm CEST). Looking ahead, the Porsche Team Germany player said, “It’s also going to be a tough match.” However, she will be approaching the duel in a highly confident mood saying, “Today’s match has given me added confidence. It’ll help against Simona.”
Angelique Kerber has been voted “Player of the Year” by her fellow players on the WTA Tour. The Porsche Brand Ambassador, who this year won the Grand Slam tournaments in Melbourne and New York and was the runner-up at Wimbledon and the Rio Olympic Games, received the trophy at a gala held in conjunction with the WTA Finals in Singapore.
“The award is something very special and nice recognition for my performances this year. I’m very proud of it,” said Angelique Kerber, who in 2016 also won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix for the second time. In the past four years, the title went every time to Serena Williams – and the superstar from USA, who she replaced as the world No. 1, also chose the German. Angelique Kerber: “The fact that Serena also voted for me makes the award even more valuable.”
The WTA Finals were first played in 1972. Qualified are the year’s eight most successful players. They are split up into two round robin groups. The top two will contest the semi-finals. The final will take place on 30 October. Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska is the title-holder. Total prize money amounts to seven million dollars. The singles draw served up the following groups: Red Group: Angelique Kerber (Germany), Simona Halep (Romania), Madison Keys (USA), Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia). White Group: Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic), Garbine Muguruza (Spain) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia). Julia Görges, the Porsche Team Germany member, will be competing in the doubles alongside the Czech Karolina Pliskova.